Just war and robots’ killings

Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):302-22 (2016)
Authors
Vincent C. Müller
University of Leeds
Thomas W. Simpson
Oxford University
Abstract
May lethal autonomous weapons systems—‘killer robots ’—be used in war? The majority of writers argue against their use, and those who have argued in favour have done so on a consequentialist basis. We defend the moral permissibility of killer robots, but on the basis of the non-aggregative structure of right assumed by Just War theory. This is necessary because the most important argument against killer robots, the responsibility trilemma proposed by Rob Sparrow, makes the same assumptions. We show that the crucial moral question is not one of responsibility. Rather, it is whether the technology can satisfy the requirements of fairness in the re-distribution of risk. Not only is this possible in principle, but some killer robots will actually satisfy these requirements. An implication of our argument is that there is a public responsibility to regulate killer robots ’ design and manufacture
Keywords responsibility  responsibility gap  responsibility trilemma  fairness  risk  tolerance level  killer robots  drones  just war theory  international humantarian law
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1093/pq/pqv075
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References found in this work BETA

A Theory of Justice.John Rawls - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.
Killing in War.Jeff McMahan - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
The Realm of Rights.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1990 - Harvard University Press.
Equality and Priority.Derek Parfit - 1997 - Ratio 10 (3):202–221.

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Citations of this work BETA

Just Research Into Killer Robots.Patrick Taylor Smith - forthcoming - Ethics and Information Technology.

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